Various Pilates Modifications for Pregnancy: Best Exercises and Moves

Various Pilates Modifications for Pregnancy: Best Exercises and Moves

Pilates is a widely known and popular all over the world exercise system. It was created by Joseph Pilates more than a hundred years ago and has evolved in our days as one of the areas of fitness. The Pilates is good for its opportunity to do the exercises both in fitness club and at home.

Pilates can engage people of any age and gender, with any level of fitness. The possibility of injury is minimized here.


In addition, the exercises involve deep abdominal muscles which are rarely worked out during classical and power aerobics.


This method is based on the idea of using mind to control one’s body. That is the key to establishing a connection and balance between the two.

Concentration, evenness, precision, breath, imagination, integration, relaxation- these are the key principles of Pilates.

According to these principles, the central part of our body, which consists of the abdominal, lumbar and gluteal muscles, is a source of energy for coordination of our movements. A characteristic feature of the exercises is evenness of the movements.

They are not static or isolated; they are natural for the body. We highly recommend you to read the next articles: “Pregnancy yoga or pilates?”, “Pilates during pregnancy”.

Pilates exercises during pregnancy

Pregnancy pilates training with instructorTrainings with Pilates method is especially indispensable for women because it develop the internal muscles – small pelvis muscles, also allow to do fitness during and after the pregnancy without giving up the workout and to keep body fit. Physical exercises help to improve posture.

Pilates modifications for pregnancy will help you to recover after the childbirth more easily. The basis of Pilates is yoga exercises, and in this practice great importance is attached to breathing.

Deep thoracic breathing intensely saturates blood with oxygen, which is very important for a child. All pregnancy pilates moves are done slowly, smoothly requiring full concentration and control over the technique.

Pregnant woman smilesMoreover when doing pregnant pilates exercises you don’t need complicated and expensive sports equipment, you will need only a yoga mat and sometimes a fit ball. You should start to do Pilates at the beginning of your pregnancy.

But it’s strongly recommended to consult a doctor before starting not to harm the baby. To get a good result, you need to perform Pilates exercises at least three times a week.

For a start, you can do exercises under the guidance of an experienced instructor, observing the technique and mode of breathing. And after having trained with the instructor, you can proceed pregnancy pilates exercises at home with self-training.

Workout routine

In this section we will look through the list of the best pilates exercises for pregnancy.

Exercises to strengthen the body

  1. First of all you need to lie on your back, bend your knees and put your hands along the body. Then with the tip of the nose gently draw”8”in the air.

    It will help you to get rid of unnecessary tension in the neck and shoulders. It’s curious, but this Pilates can be done in the 2nd trimester of the pregnancy or even later.

  2. Pilates exercises for strong body

  3. Return to the original position, legs a little apart, put your hands along the body, palms facing down. Then, on an exhale slowly start to pull back from the floor, making the body touch the floor only with blades. Wait a few seconds and then go down. This is a great exercise for pregnant women’s backs.
  4. Then you need to get up on all fours and stretch your neck. Exhale, round your back, lifts the pelvis as if you were stretching like a cat, and then on the inhale, gently and slowly straighten the back.
  5. Next, you need to pull down on the shins, slightly parting them, and making space for the belly. The forehead should be lowered on the Mat, and hand positioning along the body with palms up. This is good for relaxing, so you can do it several times a day.

    If the period is more than 1 trimester, there is an alternative. You need to lie on your side, put your head on your left arm and place the legs at a right angle.


For the following exercises you need to catch the ball. If you don’t have one, you can use the chair. The list of pilates ball exercises for pregnancy include the following moves:

    Pilates exercises with ball

  1. Your elbows should be bent, and the hands cross on the chest. Your back must be straight. On the exhale you need to move to the left, head pointing slightly upwards.

    You will need to follow the chin, holding it level with his shoulders. Then return to the starting position and do the exercise to the other way.

  2. Exhale as you tilt or bridge up and then inhale to stay at the top with your hips lifted. Then exhale to roll the spine and hips back down to start. It helps to stretch the spine while strengthening the abdominal and deep pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Press through your feet to support you as you stretch the spine to the side with an inhale, exhale to return to the start. This exercise helps to open the ribs and strengthen the oblique muscles on the sides of the torso.

Also you might be interested in the article “Pregnancy pilates reformer”.

Video tutorial

There is a video from experienced specialist which will help you to create your own pilates workout routine during pregnancy:

Dangerous moves

What pilates exercises to avoid while pregnant? It’s advised that Pilates for pregnant women should be done only after visiting a gynecologist, and under the direct supervision of an experienced instructor. Despite age and fitness level, a woman needs to exclude some of the exercises that are used in the traditional method.

Be careful not to fall

As you are gaining weights during the pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward, affecting your balance. Be careful during workouts, especially when you climb and descend with the simulator, during exercise on balance, and when lowering and raising from the floor.

Do not stretch the joints too much

Best pilates moves for pregnant womenWith the release of the relaxin hormone, your joints become more flexible during the pregnancy. And it is very important not stretch too much, since this may cause injury. Work in physiological amplitude.

At the time, as belly increases and muscles are stretched, it becomes difficult to achieve good reduction. Continue to focus on achieving the feeling of contraction of the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles.

Avoid twisting and bending

Avoid twisting and bending of the belly throughout the pregnancy. The use of the rectus abdominis, with the increase of the belly, may increase the risk of diastasis, when the connective tissue between the two muscles of a stomach cannot cope with muscle retention and diverges. Plus twist increase the burden on the waist.

Rules and recommendations

Now let’s speak about recommendations based on different trimesters:

What pilates exercises to avoid during pregnancy?

  • First trimester – remember one important rule about pilates exercises in pregnancy: do not overwork yourself, especially if you feel fatigue or nausea. These feelings often pass in the late stages, allowing you to be more intense.
  • Second trimester – moves with a wide foot placement must be avoided from the list of pilates exercises while pregnant. This can overload the joint, the anterior part of the pelvis.
  • Third trimester – avoid the same as in the second trimester, plus deep squats during the last 4-6 weeks (increases pressure on the cervix and may cause childbirth) and exercises on one leg or with wide foot placement (lunges, splits).

How to exercise at home?

Here we will speak not only about pilates exercises for pregnant ladies that could be done at home but also safe conditions which must be followed.

  1. Before you start training you should consult a doctor for the purpose of choosing the form of exercise and adequate amount of physical activity according to your health.
  2. Try to maintain regular workouts (at least 3 times a week). Workout on occasion is always a stress for the body.
  3. Pilates is useful for pregnant ladies

  4. Start with a warm-up.
  5. Exercise in a well ventilated area.
  6. Choose natural comfortable clothes that do not restrict your movements.
  7. It is very important not to hold your breath and heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute.
  8. Avoid positions, where the legs are above the heart.
  9. Be careful with the balance.
  10. Pay attention to preventing overheating of the body – before, during and after exercise drink enough water.
  11. The last meal should take place 1 hour before the workout.
  12. Focus on careful reduction, posture and muscle function of the pelvic floor.
  13. Finish with the hitch.


Pilates – is a perfect way not to give up sport during the pregnancy. But remember that doing exercise your main aim is not to lose weight and to build muscles, but to revitalize your body and get ready for the childbirth. After all, the main aim for every pregnant woman is a healthy and strong baby.

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